Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thoughts on request for information by OSTP

The American whitehouse Office for Scientific and Technology Policy has issued a request for information to discuss options for improving public access to results of federally funded research. Interestingly this is not on whether publically funded research should be publically available, but rather on how this can be achieved.

They ask a large variety of questions which I will not even begin to address one by one. It did start me thinking what my own personal humble opinion could be on this matter. Regarding a policy on open access I would have a number of suggestions: publications should either be directly available in open access or with a delay of no more than six months. A sustantial part of the funding (10%) should be dependent on this public availability. If it is not available for another six months then the funding should also be withheld for these six months. A fee should be reserved for paying for a publication fee if the journal requires this. I do not feel it is necessary for the policy to demand either the green (repository) or the gold (OA journal) road. This is something the market will also adapt to.

It would be valuable to have an overview of all the research results. The funding council could provide an overview of research, not the actual publications but persistent links to the articles offered by either a journal or a repository.

In the request for information they clearly don't ask for policy on data. This would be an interesting next step....

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